4 Common Federal Tax Refund Myths Debunked

by | Mar 31, 2023

Are you eagerly awaiting your tax return? Curious about the status of your refund? This year, there are a number of misconceptions surrounding refunds that may be confusing. Below, are four of the most common federal tax refund myths:

Myth #1: Calling the IRS, a tax software provider, or a tax professional will provide a more accurate refund date.

A common misconception is that speaking with the IRS, tax software provider, or a tax professional is the most effective method for obtaining information about a tax refund. However, the most reliable way to verify a refund’s status is by using the “Where’s My Refund?” tool or the IRS2Go app. In addition, you can call the automated refund hotline at 800-829-1954 to obtain the same refund status details as provided by “Where’s My Refund?” It is only necessary to contact the IRS if instructed by “Where’s My Refund?”; otherwise, the hotline should suffice.

Myth #2: Where’s My Refund? must be wrong because there’s no deposit date yet.

The “Where’s My Refund?” and IRS2Go mobile app updates are typically done once a day, usually overnight. While the IRS typically issues refunds within 21 days, there may be instances where it takes longer. In such cases, you will be notified through the mail if the IRS requires additional information to process your tax return. Also, consider the time the banks take to credit the refund to your account. If you opt to receive your refund via mail, make sure to allow extra time.

Myth #3: Where’s My Refund? must be wrong because the refund amount is less than expected.

If a tax refund is lower than anticipated, various reasons could be the cause. In case of any modifications, the IRS will send you an explanation letter. Utilize the “Where’s My Refund?” tool or wait for the letter before making any inquiries to understand the reason for the alteration. Additionally, some individuals may receive a letter from the Bureau of the Fiscal Service of the Department of Treasury if their refund is reduced to pay off particular financial responsibilities. 

Myth #4: Getting a refund this year means there’s no need to adjust withholding for tax year 2024.

To avoid any surprises in the upcoming year, be advised to make necessary changes now. One approach is to modify your tax withholding with your employer. The Tax Withholding Estimator tool can be used to determine if the appropriate amount is being withheld. Review your withholding when you encounter significant life events, such as marriage, divorce, the birth or adoption of a child, or when you can no longer claim someone as a dependent. After using the Tax Withholding Estimator, fill out a new Employee’s Withholding Certificate (Form W-4) and send it to your employer as soon as possible.